I am willing to bet that among the most asked question of those who are ill, their friends and relatives and certainly for those who are grieving, is why him, why her, why us, why them… why me?
You probably won’t have any difficulty finding those who are happy to offer you answers to your questions. But I worry about “caned answers”. Pat and certain answers often do more harm than good.
In the case of WHY, any answer falls short and cheats the one asking.
When you are left facing a mess in life, you will search for something that makes sense.
We really need to have some kind of rational answer why things happen as they do.
That’s part of our training. If you don’t know ask, see if you can find out.
As much as that’s all reasonable and understandable, sensible answers are in very short supply when life brings bad news.
Demi was beside herself as she searched for an answer to why her young husband Claude had died suddenly.
We were happy and he was a good man. Why would life do this to him, to me? What did we do to deserve such pain and such cruelty?
Michael was enraged that his wife of 33 years had succumbed to cancer.
Heidi was a kind, gentle woman who never thought of herself first. She gave to others and cared for others and her last several months were miserable. Why would such pain and suffering come to such an angel?
Anita was lost too.
My religion tells us that God looks after us and that God rewards the good and punishes the bad and now I am alone and I hurt so much I can barely function. My husband was a good, faithful man. God forgot him and left him to suffer. Why?
All of these questions deserve an answer but none of us is worthy or wise enough to offer something of satisfaction.
All we can do is stay close and sit quietly as the questions are asked. All we can do is feel sympathy and empathy for the one asking, knowing that in some places and some times, rational answers are not available.
When why is asked what’s really going on is a lament that expresses abandon and a desperate plea to be heard.
None of the people that I just mentioned or none of the countless thousands that ask this question every minute of everyday expect you to provide them with an answer. They are simply expressing deep pain and need you and the universe to hear that they hurt.
If you are feeling lost and abandoned, if you hurt to the core and need “ answers”, I would urge you not to give up asking “why.”
Even in the question, even with the sound of the hopeless, helpless word why, there is healing at work because you have begun to express the pain that you feel.
If you have a friend or relative who struggles to manage and understand, you don’t need to feel that you have to come up with an answer.
Remember they are not asking a factual question but rather a spiritual, metaphysical one.
Sometimes yelling at the sky is the very most reasonable response of all.
I remember Bernie once told me that his Doctor missed the point.
“ I asked him why Sarah, and he told me because she was a smoker”. I know she smoked but so do many others who don’t die at 52. I was asking for something much more than what he learned in medical school.”